In a BBC lecture on freedom of speech, the writer said young people were growing up “afraid to ask questions for fear of asking the wrong questions”.
Such a climate could lead to “the death of curiosity, the death of learning and the death of creativity”, the award-winning Nigerian author warned.
“No human endeavour requires freedom as much as creativity does,” she added.
Adichie, known for novels including Half Of A Yellow Sun and Americanah, was speaking in the first of the four annual Reith Lectures for Radio 4, all this year on themes of freedom.
She argued that Sir Salman Rushdie’s controversial novel The Satanic Verses would “probably not” be published today – something he himself said in 2012.
Earlier this year, Sir Salman was attacked on stage at a literary event. He suffered a damaged liver, severed nerves in an arm and lost sight in an eye.